July 9, 2013, 4:06 PM

VF expects e-commerce sales to grow 25% annually through 2017

It is building a digital road map for its 25 brands to reach that goal.

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VF Corp., parent of The North Face, has ambitious plans to grow e-commerce sales 25% a year through 2017.

VF Corp., parent company of such brands as The North Face, Smartwool, Lee, Wrangler and Ella Moss, recently unveiled a growth strategy that targets a 25% compound annual growth rate in e-commerce sales.

Overall, VF wants to achieve $17 billion in global sales by 2017. Of that, VF says its direct-to-consumer sales, comprising its retail stores and its e-commerce sites, will reach $4.4 billion in four years. Currently, VF operates 1,129 stores, and anticipates increasing that by 645 stores to about 1,775 by 2017. Most of its major brands have U.S. online stores, but the company is still expanding internationally online.

VF, No. 113 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, brought in $215 million in online sales in 2012, a 20.9% increase from $177.9 million in 2011.

Along with e-commerce and international expansion, VF’s strategic plan to increase sales also includes efforts to increase comparable-store sales growth. “They are the fundamental strategies of direct-to-consumer growth,” Michael T. Gannaway, vice president of VF direct/customer teams, said during an investor meeting about the strategy.

VF evaluated where its brands’ online sites stand, measuring such elements as marketing, fulfillment, social and usability, he said. That helped it prioritize what needs to be done for each of its 25 brands. “Each of our brands is in the process of building a road map, bringing them to their state of excellence,” Gannaway said. One benefit of this exercise is creating ways for consumers to interact with VF brands in multiple ways, he said. “Omnichannel is, at the end of the day, the payout,” he said. “It’s about a single view of the customer, that we know you when you shop with us in-store, online and, with your permission, (through) your social behavior.”

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